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"Xochi Speaks" Poster and Booklet.
"Xochi Speaks" is a bold introduction to the benefits and hazards of psychoactive substances of both plant and synthetic origin. The 24- x 36-inch full color poster by LordNose! depicts Xochipilli, Aztec prince of flowers, seated in eternal "stoned" bliss, his gaze directed upwards towards internally generated wondrous images. LordNose! provides us with a glimpse of the revealed mysteries -- Xochipilli here looks upon his "flowers," an arc or rainbow of multicolored molecules. The message, that chemistry matters, seems clear. The artist, not intimidated by chemistry, represents the molecules that supply these visions with three-dimensional clarity. In fact, the molecules (appropriately) have more substance and corporeality than the god, who appears from afar to be made of stone but on closer inspection is disintegrating into pixels of cyberspace, suggestive of the "surreality" and evanescence of psychic experience. Xochipilli, the Aztec god intent upon the molecules, attests vis ually to the sacred nature of ritual uses of psychoactive substances in traditional societies. These molecules are to be treated with great reverence and respect and are not to be taken lightly.

Psychoactives may not be the only way to arrive at a deeper understanding and feeling of connectedness with the inner and outer cosmos, but they are a convenient and quick, though potentially toxic, way to get there. Against a dark blue background of deep space and a pervasive cloud-like atmosphere, the four miniature images of Xochipilli that flank the central figure show the various perspectives of Xochipilli's multidimentionality at once, hinting at the panascopic experience that psychic "travelers" describe. For anyone contemplating inner space travel, Xochipilli is a competent silent guide. In our culture where excesses have taken a devastating social toll, Xochipilli's teaching reflecting the ancient wisdom of traditional culture, as well as the modern tenet of pharmacology -- that dosage counts -- is conveyed in an inspired, aesthetic, and unequivocal format.

"Xochi Speaks" has been thoroughly researched and referenced. The artist, Marc Franklin, has assembled an impressive array of expert consultants, collectively known as LordNose! Dr. David Nichols and Dr. Robert Pfaff created the computer-generated three-dimensional molecular structures. Douglas Trainor and John Labovitz are the computer specialists who assisted the artist in realizing his vision. The entire project was proofread by Dr. Alexander Shulgin. Other contributors wish to remain anonymous. The poster contains "at-a-glance" ethnobotanical, pharmacological, and chemical information, including dosage, anticipated reactions, adverse reactions, and contraindications that are easily explained for the layperson. Suggestions for maximizing one's psychoactive experience are included. The poster is accompanied by a sixteen-page booklet, A Guide to the Psychedelics, that gently introduces the molecular structure of psychoactive substances, lists further readings, and contains info rmation on nutritional support, metabolism, and cross tolerances. The attractive poster graces Dr. Richard Evans Schultes's home and my own. "Xochi Speaks" is available for $20 post paid, domestic; $25 foreign from LordNose! Box G473, San Francisco CA 94117.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Janna Weiss